He said it, so it must be true.
Everything he said was true. Nobody else liked me. Nobody else could love me. Nobody else saw me as worthy.
“Do what I tell you, or else.”
The or else was a scary thought, so I did what I was told.
He paid for my lunch. He drove me around. He did me favors. So, I owed him.
He never let me forget it, either. I tried to leave. I tried to get out of his mandated obligations. I tried to just disappear, and hope he would forget me.
Sometimes, I thought it was working. I could walk by him, and he wouldn’t acknowledge me. He wouldn’t even give me that look of disgust.
Did that make me free?
I wasn’t sure. Before I had a chance to understand true freedom, he was back. He apologized his way back into power. He disguised his dictatorship as democracy.
I bought my own lunch one day. I realized how little I paid for it when I used money.
I asked for help. More like, a definition. I was told that I deserved my situation. I was told there was no definition. I was given the “get up and move on” speech.
Did everybody agree that I was worthless?
Or, did my own belief in my worthlessness give others the right to treat me that way?
When he said I owed him, I paid. The payment felt exactly like or else.
He doesn’t deserve my favors.
I buy my own lunch now.
~Post from 2014. In response to a prompt.